The Second Council of Lyons (A.D. 1274) was convoked by Pope Gregory X for the sake of union with the Greeks, the crusade, and reform of the Church. Representatives of Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus and the Greek Orthodox Church participated. In the fourth session, union between the Greek and Latin Churches was agreed upon and defined. The union, however, soon dissolved. Image above links to Tanner translation of the decrees. ISBN recommendation: 0-87840-490-2
Aquinas’ deep and exhaustive synthesis of Catholic doctrine and philosophic thought which continues to exert a dominant influence over Roman Catholic theology. Officially recognized as a Doctor of the Church, Aquinas labored on the Summa Theologica from 1265 to 1274, dying before its completion. Image links to Aquinas Institute translation. ISBN recommendation: 0870610635
Bonaventure’s stairway of contemplation from the exterior world, to the interior, to the Eternal. Conceived by the “Seraphic Doctor” in 1259 while contemplating, at Mt. Alverna, the stigmata of St. Francis; Journey of the Mind to God (Itinerarium mentis in Deum) is perhaps his defining work. Image links to translation derived from Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Hardcopy recommendation: The Works of Bonaventure, Mystical Opuscula, translated by Jose de Vinck, St. Anthony Guild Press.
In 1257 Bonaventure was elected General Minister of the Franciscan Order, effectively ending his teaching career at the University of Paris. That same year he completed the Breviloquium, a brief synthesis of theology and a concise summary of his mature teaching: “The first Principle created this perceptible world as a means of self-revelation so that, like a mirror of God or a divine footprint, it might lead man to love and praise his
Creator… the universe is like a book reflecting, representing, and describing its Maker,
the Trinity.” Bonaventure stands out as a teacher of seeing God by means of creation/nature. Image links to an online library copy of de Vinck translation. Hardcopy recommendation: The Works of Bonaventure, The Breviloquium, translated by Jose de Vinck, St. Anthony Guild Press.
As summarized by Bonaventure himself: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights, says James in the first chapter of his epistle. These words of Sacred Scripture not only indicate the source of all illumination but they likewise point out the generous flow of the manifold rays which issue from that Fount of light. Notwithstanding the fact that every illumination of knowledge is within, still we can with reason distinguish what we may call the external light, or the light of mechanical art; the lower light, or the light of sense perception; the inner light, or the light of philosophical knowledge; and the higher light, or the light of grace and of Sacred Scripture. The first light illumines in regard to structure of artifacts; the second, in regard to natural forms; the third, in regard to intellectual truth; the fourth and last, in regard to saving truth.” Image links to translation of unknown origin. Hardcopy recommendation: The Works of Bonaventure, Opuscula, Second Series, translated by Jose de Vinck, St. Anthony Guild Press.
The First Council of Lyons (A.D. 1245) was convoked by Pope Innocent IV “that the Church, through the salutary counsel of the faithful and their fruitful help, may have the dignity of its proper position; that assistance may speedily be brought to the unhappy crisis in the Holy Land and the sufferings of the Eastern Empire; that a remedy may be found against the Tartars and other enemies of the faith and persecutors of the Christian people; further, for the issue between the Church and the Emperor”. During this Council, Innocent IV formally pronounced Frederick II as deprived of kingdom and empire. Image above links to Tanner translation of the Council decrees. ISBN recommendation: 0-87840-490-2
The Fourth Lateran Council (A.D. 1215) was convoked by Pope Innocent III “to eradicate vices and to plant virtues, to correct faults and to reform morals, to remove heresies and to strengthen faith, to settle discords and to establish peace, to get rid of oppression and to foster liberty, to induce princes and Christian people to come to the aid and succour of the Holy Land”. The Constitutions present a dogmatic formulation on Transubstantiation. Image above links to Tanner translation of the Council decrees. ISBN recommendation: 0-87840-490-2
A fascinating eyewitness account of the Fourth Crusade and the infamous siege and sack (A.D. 1204) of Constantinople. Image above links to Google Books entry. ISBN recommendation: 0-231-13669-2. See also Appendix I, Memory and Reconciliation, for a reflection upon historic grave violations of charity by representatives of the Catholic community.
The Third Lateran Council (A.D. 1179), was convoked by Pope Alexander III after the Battle of Legnano and the surrender of Emperor Frederick I. The primary object of the council was to end the nearly 20 year schism supported by the Emperor against Alexander. Image above links to Tanner translation of the Council decrees. ISBN recommendation: 0-87840-490-2
The Second Lateran Council (A.D. 1139) was convoked by Pope Innocent II after the death of the antipope, Anacletus II (Peter Leoni). The Council sought to consolidate unity and reestablish ecclesial discipline. Image above links to Tanner translation of the Council decrees. ISBN recommendation: 0-87840-490-2